'Sawan' 2022: Know about the dos and don'ts of fasting
Sawan, the fifth month of the Hindu calendar is here when people worship Lord Shiva. This year, Sawan began on Asadha Purnima on July 14 and will end on Shravan Purnima on August 12. It is believed that one can acquire Lord Shiva's blessings by fasting every Monday this month. Today is the first Monday fast and the last one is on August 8.
Many people fill their pitchers with water from the holy river Ganga and travel on foot carrying the Kawad to Hindu pilgrimage sites like Haridwar and Gaumukh. However, devotees must follow some rules and regulations and avoid certain foods during this month.
Refrain from drinking alcohol as it is considered sinful to consume liquor during the holy month. It is believed that alcohol attracts a lot of negative energies in the body and can badly affect your mind. Brinjal is listed as an impure vegetable in the Hindu scriptures and is considered unlucky for religious occasions. So, it's better to avoid brinjal during Sawan.
If you are observing a fast, then avoid onion, garlic, and masoor dal as these are hot and tamasic which are considered impure for your body. Instead, you should opt for a satvik meal. Certain spices like red chili powder, table salt, and coriander powder should be avoided while cooking food. You can use sendha namak, ginger, black pepper, and green chilies in food.
You should avoid non-vegetarian foods like meat, eggs, and fish during this time as killing living beings is considered a sin during the month of Sawan. You should also avoid consuming milk and other dairy products as they are sourced from animals and can cause an acidic reaction in the body. The use of turmeric and ketki flower are prohibited as well.
Wake up early morning, take a bath and clean the house. Next, sprinkle Gangajal throughout the house before you establish Lord Shiva's idol in the northeast direction of your house. Perform a pooja using water, milk, sugar, ghee, curd, honey, kamal gatta, raw rice, janeyu, sandalwood, dhatoora, cardamom, cloves, bhaang, vastra (clothing), mewa (dry fruits), prasaad, dakshina, panchamrit, bel patra, and flowers.
You must take a sankalp or pledge on the first Sawan Somwar that you will observe the fast and follow the rituals sincerely. After performing the aarti, you can eat vrat ka khana once in the evening. The first vrat or fast of Sawan is today, on July 18. Around 50,000 devotees are expected to visit Varanasi's Kashi Vishwanath Temple throughout the month.